Condoms are natural products: up until 100 years ago, they were made of the swim bladders of fish and sheep appendices. However, these condoms were not elastic, and for this reason a bow was sewn on to keep them from slipping off.
Latex, the milky sap of the rubber tree, eventually became the preferred material for this use. American industrialist Charles Goodyear invented the vulcanisation process, which makes latex milk elastic and stress-resistant by heating it and adding sulphur.
In the beginning, latex condoms were relatively thick and intended for more than one use. For the past 50 years, they have been both strong and ‘ultrasensitive’.
But innovations did appear eventually: a non-latex model was recently launched on the market. Even thinner than conventional types, it is intended for people who are allergic to latex.